What is breadcrumbing when dating?

Leading someone on romantically

Breadcrumbing is when a person leads someone on in a romantic way with no intention of committing to a relationship (ship). The "breadcrumber" may do it on accident, but typically they do it on purpose because they enjoy being pursued and fawned over.

The term gained popularity in the mid-2010s as a way to identify people who are being breadcrumbed and the people who are doing the breadcrumbing. It comes from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. In the story, the two children leave breadcrumbs on the path they take so they can follow it out of the forest.

In heterosexual pursuits, the male is typically the one being breadcrumbed and the female is the one breadcrumbing. The breadcrumber may send provocative texts or give flirty glances but then wants nothing to do with commitment. Some benefits of breadcrumbing a person include undivided attention, free meals, and thoughtful gifts from the breadcrumbed person.


She is the worst. She's just breadcrumbing me along until she can find someone more fun
Breadcrumbing is often done through texting
Breadcrumbing is often done through texting

Related Slang


Updated September 1, 2021

Breadcrumbing definition by

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